Sunday, 29 November 2015

Betty's Barn Day

In the barn at Morwellham Quay for my last planned fair before Christmas. It was a windy, cold and rainy day to finish the year Betty's Bubble.
There are dates in the diary for 2016 already; an up-to-date list is on the 'Events' page at

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Betty's Suitcase

I had a lovely and very successful time at Cowslip Christmas Fair last weekend (more photos on my Facebook page). I felt inspired to come home and play with some different ideas for displaying things. There's a delicate balance between plastic bags to keep things clean and moth-free and the opportunity to really see everything clearly and be able to touch the wool. I've decided to give this a go - lavender inside the case should keep the moths away over the winter! It's a vintage suitcase that I bought earlier this year. I'd been using a larger one to display brooches so it made sense to use the idea again. It'll make setting up and packing away so much quicker, too! 
It's my last fair before Christmas this weekend, at Morwellham Quay - a lovely place for a day out with the added bonus of a craft fair! I've sorted out lots of things for a sale basket - I just love a good rummage so hopefully, other people will, too! 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Someone's Treasure

Do you know anyone with the initials REC? I have this lovely enamelled piece that can be attached to a Memory Pocket Book or a Memory Bag for a very personal and lovely gift. It was in a tin of buttons and things that I bought once - I'd love to find it a special home!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Vintage Time - Pocket Watch Medal Brooches

The tools I'd ordered have arrived. A set of small files, a pair of pliers, some small screwdrivers and a metal hole punch. 
Almost too nervous to begin, in case I spoil all the lovely treasures I've been given...
The first task was to work out how to remove the sharp pieces from the back of the watch faces without damaging them. The pliers and the files worked a treat and I got away with minimal trauma to the faces (although I have to admit, there was a bit of trauma to my fingers!).
Flat, smooth faces. Now the fun with ribbons and stitching can begin!
Vintage midnight blue velvet ribbon and... 
 beautiful vintage silk sari ribbons.
Working out the best way of stitching everything together so that it's secure and takes the weight of the watch face took some time but I learnt a lot from doing the first one (as always).

So, now I know what I'm doing, here come a few more!

I'm really pleased with these brooches - just in time for the artisan market in Tavistock on Sunday! I'm going to investigate time quotes to go with them. Now I just need some sunshine so that photographs show the colours accurately!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Betty's Bunting




I've been making bunting using pages from vintage books - these are mainly Ladybird. String is provided. All you need is a glue stick, and a few minutes of time (preferably with a cup of tea and some cake!). The flags are not attached to the string when you get them. This means that they're more flexible - you can have them all on one long length of string or on a few shorter lengths. The number of flags vary according to the number of pages in the book so the prices vary. 
In case you're wondering, I don't destroy really good books - I only take apart those that have been spoilt by an over-enthusiastic reader or where the cover has been damaged over time. If the cover is still useable, I usually make notebooks from them! 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

"It is mine, this minute," said Betty.

I'll be taking three one-off clocks to the Tavistock Textile and Vintage Fair on Saturday, along with some new Vintage Time creations…


Friday, 25 September 2015

Betty's Brooches

Two brooches ready for the Vintage Fair in Plymouth tomorrow. I had a weekend away last weekend, meeting up with a friend I haven't seen for far too long. I saw the two small dolls in a fabulous vintage haberdashery and toy shop in the town where I went to school. It's below the rooms that used to be my dad's office so it's in a building that has meaning for me. They bring back lovely memories of playing as a child and all the smiles and games of that time. I wonder where they'll go to live next and who will look after them...

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Betty's Treasure

On my work table today...
I've been sorting through some wonderful boxes of treasure given to me by a friend.
Oh my goodness - there are so many lovely things!

I'm planning to make some medal brooches using the pocket watch faces…
and maybe some mixed media jewellery using the tins, clock hands and cogs.
I'm really excited about getting started!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Betty's Frocks and Bags

A great couple of days! This morning, I finished off an order for Memory Bags for two boys - I'm really pleased with them! They're ready to be filled with all sorts of treasures from their adventures as they grow up.

I spent some time packing up and sending a website order - I really loved and appreciated the "all lovely" response this morning.

 I also tried out a new Dottie Angel pattern with some fabric I've had stashed away for a while. I love the vintage feel and especially the pockets, but I had to tweak the pattern to put the tie at waist level - not the right fit for me, otherwise. I'm planning on using it as an over-dress, so I'm looking forward to trying it out! Next time, I'll try using contrasting fabrics for the pockets and binding (I had a go at making that myself for this dress) and I'll also make the neck line narrower, although I like the fact that whatever colour's underneath will show.

Lastly, I've enjoyed a couple of blogs and websites - I'm loving 'The Makings Of Mrs Bertimus' (she was also very kind and put some pictures of Betty's Bubble things at Cowslip Summer Fair on her bog) and 'Clarity and Blur' - Tina Gilmore's site (I love her shop in Montgomery).

What next? I'm thinking about a new idea using tiny vintage tins and maybe a trip to the Antique, Vintage and Decorative Fair at the Royal Cornwall Show Ground this weekend to search for some more treasures...

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Betty's Bags

I've really enjoyed developing these lovely bags. They're made of blanket and lined with fabric - usually linen or cotton. They're embellished with vintage stitched fabric, text and other items. Use the, to keep your precious memories safe - children's first clothes and shoes, cards, letters, books, photographs, things from a special place or time, things that remind you of a special person. Very individual, very special.

Hand Spinning Instructions

These photos and comments support the instructions that come with Betty's Hand Spinning Kits...

Spread out some fleece so that it mixes with the fleece at the end of the leader (the thread that is tied underneath the whorl (disc). You can start to mesh it together a bit at this stage, before you start twisting the spindle. That's how you start but also how you rejoin if (when!) your thread breaks.
Pinch the end of the spun thread (where it stops being spun thread and starts being fleece) with your left hand, also with some fleece in your left hand. (Most people find that this is comfortable, but you may want to try holding the spun thread and fleece in your right hand and spinning the spindle with your left hand - whatever's most comfortable for you.) Start to spin the spindle clockwise with your right hand.
When the spindle is spinning (clockwise), move your right hand to pinch the thread, changing places with your left hand. While you pinch, pull up some fleece with your left hand. At this stage, experiment with how much to pull up - too much and you'll get a very thick, loose thread (although this can be great for some creative projects), too little and the thread will break because it's too thin to support the weight of the spindle. This can be a very slow movement - no need to panic!
Move your right hand upwards and watch the twist run up the thread. When your right hand meets your left hand, you can take it away from the thread. If the spindle stops spinning  or starts to spin anti-clockwise, stop it by putting it on the ground or against your leg. Keep on repeating from picture 2.
When the thread is longer than is comfortable to be able to continue spinning, remove the thread from the hook and wind it round the spindle beneath the whorl...
 bring it up and over the whorl...
and round the hook as before. Start spinning again from picture 2.

And that's all there is to it…!

Okay, so you're bound to take some time to get it right - you're very lucky if you 'get it' at the first attempt. If the thread breaks, just start again from picture one. Keep practising and you'll get the hang of it. 

Experiment with making the thread thick, thin and lumpy - much more interesting than just smooth and even!
When you've spun your thread, take it off the spindle and wind it loosely round the top of a chair or a friend's hands to make a hank, tied in three or four places to keep it tidy. Soak it in warm (not hot) water with some gentle detergent. Don't agitate the water - unless you want to end up with felt! Dry it naturally - don't tumble dry it.

If you're stuck, don't give up! It may take a bit of time and practise but it'll be worth it. You can always ask a friend to help by doing the twisting of the spindle while you concentrate on the thread at the top until you get more confident. When you've got the hang of it, you can try spinning other things - mix your dog's hair into the wool for a really personal thread, try alpaca fibre and look for different colours of fleece. 

There are several videos on YouTube that will help - just put 'Hand Spinning' into the search box. If you're really struggling, contact me - or via the contact link at

This could start years of enjoyment with spinning and creating; it did for me - thanks to Mum for teaching me in the first place x.